HIGHLIGHTS OF THE 2023 FORMULA 1 AZERBAIJAN GRAN PRIX RACE AFTER THE PRESS CONFERENCE
The top three winners of the 2023 Formula 1 Azerbaijan Gran Prix took part at the press conference after the race on April 30th. The winner of the race, Sergio Perez, second and third place holders - Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc shared their first race impressions.
Race winner, Sergio Perez from Red Bull team gave his initial impressions: “It was a great weekend overall. We delivered when we had to. It was a lot of pressure. I felt that with this format it puts a lot of stress on the drivers, on the engineers, the mechanics. So, the way we delivered over the weekend was great. It is inevitable that Baku street track is the one that requires a lot of attention hence, Peres included: “…in this place you cannot really [lose concentration], it doesn't matter where you are in the race, you cannot lose your concentration at all.”
Sergio showed a lot of respect towards his team-mate and the holder of the second place of this race, Max Verstappen, stating: " The level we are operating at, we’re pushing each other really hard, we obviously want to beat each other, I want to win the championship as much as Max wants but there is a lot of respect between us.” The intense race between the team members showed an immaculate battle with Sergio’s view: “Once we were on the Hard compound, it was really hard, you know, to keep Max behind, because I knew that as soon as he would get DRS then that's it, really. So just to keep him behind the DRS was a massive challenge. And we were pushing each other massively. We really gave it all, lap after lap. And I'm really happy to come away with this victory.”
Max Verstappen, the winner of the second place, celebrated his 81st podium at the 2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix. He voiced his general thoughts about the course of the race: “I think the weekend in general, a bit messy, but I think that can be expected with this format. But the race today, I could have been a little bit more aggressive with the way I was using my tires. I think I was just too careful. So, the whole race, I was just trying a lot of things on my steering wheel to try and get a bit of a better feeling, balance in the car. And I actually think that I found a good compromise towards the end of the race because I think my last 10 laps were a lot stronger. And I felt a lot happier with the car, how everything was behaving.”
"Are you worried about the decrease in points difference between you and Sergio Perez?" Max answered the question: "We clearly have the fastest car at the moment but I've been in this position before and it's about consistency. You need to acknowledge and also appreciate when somebody has done a great job. And that's exactly what happened today. And we will continue fighting for the rest of the season but that's normal, we have done that our whole life.”
The Ferrari driver and the double pole positions winner - both in the Sprint shootout qualification, which was introduced for the first time in Baku, and in the qualifying round of the main race, Charles Leclerc took third place this year in Baku. His thoughts about the intense race were: "It's good to finally score some points as I've said many times this weekend, I don't think that the six points we had coming here was really representative of our true performance. But of course, we are lacking a lot of performance compared to the Red Bull guys and also to the Astons in the race, but we deserve more points. So, it's good to finally have those points. But now we just need to work extremely hard in order to be fighting with those guys again in the race.”
Sergio Perez's win in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix marks the end of the "Baku syndrome" as there is now a repeat winner of the race. This victory is Perez's second win in Baku and he has now earned a total of four podium finishes in the race, making him the driver with the highest number of podiums in Baku.